In 2019, Wyoming is celebrating “The Year of Wyoming Women,” in recognition of the 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage — 50 years ahead of the national ratification of the 19th Amendment. The Wyoming State Tourism website says, “determination, resiliency and the pioneering spirit are part of the DNA of the West…so it’s no surprise that strong Wyoming women helped pave the way.”

At Ucross, we see those same traits in artists, writers, composers and choreographers. All creative accomplishment requires risk-taking, fortitude and persistence. While our core mission is to provide the gift of uninterrupted time for creative focus, this year we are pleased to bring a number of extraordinary women artists into the spotlight through special events in our region. We hope you’ll have a chance to meet some of these amazing women.

In February, work by artists Teresa Booth Brown of Colorado and Phoebe Adams of New Mexico and Maine opens at the Ucross Art Gallery in the exhibition “Response to Place: COLOR.” Both artists will travel to Sheridan in late April for a public reception on Sunday, April 28, and to give workshops on the same day, in connection with Sheridan’s Celebrate the Arts 2019.

On March 8, Sheridan College and Ucross will co-host the second annual International Women’s Day Celebration, featuring photographer Rhona Bitner. The event will take place in the Whitney Academic Center, Room 153, at 7 p.m. Bitner divides her time between New York and Paris and she has shown her work internationally. A resident at Ucross in March, she will present work that reveals elements of theatrical and musical experience, as well as stunning photographs of Wyoming made during previous Ucross residencies.

Ucross is honored to be a sponsor of the seventh annual Sheridan Press FAB Women’s Conference at Sheridan College on Friday, April 12. (Get your tickets soon!) The keynote speaker will be internationally bestselling author and speaker, Elizabeth Gilbert, who has had two Ucross residencies, including to work on “Eat Pray Love” (now translated into 30 languages with sales of 10 million copies). We’re thrilled that harpist Mary Lattimore of Los Angeles, who was at Ucross last year, will play at the VIP reception that evening.

On the long-awaited first day of summer, June 21, the first two Ucross Native American Visual Arts Fellows, Brenda Mallory and Sydney Pursel, will be in Ucross to talk about their work on view in the exhibition “Intricate Form.” Mallory, a member of the Cherokee Nation, lives in Portland, Oregon, and Pursel (Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska) lives in Missouri. The show opens at the Ucross Art Gallery on June 3 and is currently on view in Colorado at the Museum of Art Fort Collins, if you would like a sneak preview.

In October, we will present a solo exhibition of photographs by past Ucross resident Martirene Alcántara, who was born in Mexico City and now divides her time between Mexico and New York. Her work has recently been shown in Austria, Italy, Mexico and France. During the exhibit, we are also planning to feature work by several female Latina writers who have been recipients of the Aura Estrada Prize, which Ucross supports with residencies.

And if you’re looking for reading ideas to get you through the rest of winter — three female Ucross Fellows have already published new books in 2019: Mesha Maren’s novel “Sugar Run” (Algonquin), Sarah McColl’s memoir “Joy Enough” (Liveright), and Esmé Weijun Wang’s essays “The Collected Schizophrenias” (Graywolf). What a year for women artists!

 

Sharon Dynak is president of the Ucross Foundation